Cool Summer Treats

popsicle line

Summer is in full swing and full heat. While hanging out with the kiddos we’ve experimented with making our own popsicles,  this was so exciting and fun, at first but now the newness has worn off. It was so cool to choose 3 different juice flavors or even make a smoothie and freezing it overnight for a much anticipated awesome and unique flavored popsicles, concocted by the youngsters.

watermelon-fruit-popsicles

Now that they are tired of these cool fruit flavored popsicles I am looking to fudgesicles. I don’t want to buy them from the store mainly because I cannot pronounce most of the ingredients and I didn’t want to just buy box pudding for the same reason. I am that weird mom that will not buy anything unless I can clearly pronounce and recognize the ingredients. So with that being said here I am writing this blog on how to make fudgesicles from scratch.

And here we go……

Ingredients:

2 cups of whole milk

1 cup of dark chocolate chunks

2 Tablespoons of sugar

2 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

Directions:

  1. Heat the whole milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not boil, just heat until the milk is steamy.
  2. Turn off the burner but leave saucepan in place. Add Cocoa & Sugar whisk together until completely blended.
  3. Pour chocolate chunks into a bowl.
  4. Pour Cocoa/Milk mixture over chocolate chunks. Stir until completely melted and well blended.
  5. Clean edges of the bowl with a spatula and let the chocolate mixture stand for 5 minutes.
  6. Pour into popsicle molds, place popsicle sticks in each compartment. Wait until fudgesicle is completely frozen.

We make our popsicles before bed and let them freeze overnight so the kiddos aren’t left waiting all day…. but 5-7 hours should do the trick too.

I hope this treat is as cool and pleasing to you as it was for my family.

fudgescil

Enjoy!

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Quick and Easy Chocolate Chili

The countdown to fall begins: school will be back in session, jobs back in full swing and life begins to pick up the pace. I always enjoy welcoming a new season with heartwarming recipes that are not only good for the body but good for the soul. This recipe will delight your senses and your appetite.

Welcome the change in season with me and try this Quick and Easy Chocolate Chili.

You will need:

A slow cooker

1 lb ground beef

1 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes

1 green pepper chopped

1 onion chopped

1 14.5 oz can of corn

1 14.5 oz can of kidney beans or great northern beans

1 package McCormick chili seasoning (I know you may think this is a cop-out but it’s the easiest for me.  Obviously you can substitute your own spices for this step)

1 1/2 oz of Cocoa Mill Bittersweet Chocolate

(You can also add venison or other meats if desired. If you choose add additional meats use 2 packages of spice mix instead of 1.)

1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir until mixed. Cook on low heat all day (8am-6pm)

2. Stir well before you are ready to serve. Top with sour cream and cheddar cheese. Enjoy c:

Summertime: Mini Mint Cheesecakes

grasshopper
Oh my, oh my…. The days are getting warmer and warmer and It is time to have a bite that will cool you down and lift your spirits. Mini Mint Cheesecakes are the perfect summertime treat. These delectable bites are easy to make and cute to serve with tea or as a potluck bring along dish. Cool your taste buds and the summertime heat with these nifty little bites:

Ingredients:

Crust

Crushed Chocolate Cream Cookies
1/4 cup butter, melted

Filling

2 packages (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/3 cup green crème de menthe liqueur

Topping

Sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
Grasshopper-Tarts

Steps

  •  Crumble about half the cookies into fine crumbs to make 2 cups cookie crumbs.
  • In small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and melted butter. Place foil baking cup in each of 18 regular-size muffin cups. Press about 1 tablespoon cookie mixture in bottom of each baking cup or use tartlet molds. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F. Bake 5 minutes.
  • In large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl frequently, until smooth and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Stir in liqueur. Pour about 1/4 cup of the filling on top of each of the cookie crusts.
  •  Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until edges are set and centers are still slightly jiggly. Turn oven off, and open door slightly. Cool cheesecake in oven 30 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling rack; cool at room temperature 30 minutes. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until cheesecakes are chilled. Top with sweetened whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Enjoy!

grashopper2

Chocolate Protein Bars

PBChocoProteinBars_US_DT

Sometimes we don’t need a guilty pleasure, instead we need a chocolate feel good about myself snack. This seemed like it would work for those warmer days when you still need a chocolate pick me up.

Chocolate Protein Bars

chocprotein

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup Unsweetened Vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 4 egg whites
  • 2 scoops protein powder (vanilla or chocolate)
  • 1/4 cup Stevia
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3 Tbsp unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter
  • 4 Tbsp nonfat Greek yogurt

Directions:

  • 1.Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • 2.Mix almond milk, egg whites, applesauce, peanut butter and yogurt together in a small bowl.
  • 3.In a separate bowl, mix flour, protein powder, Stevia, baking soda, salt and cocoa together and then combine with wet ingredients.
  • 4.Pour mixture into a greased 8″ x 8″ glass dish and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Enjoy!

chocolate-protein-bars-560x559

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

It is August, for a lot of this it means we are reminiscing over summer vacations or waiting to squeeze a last minute vacation in before September comes. Our family has already been on vacation, so I am left to reminisce. In doing so I thought about all the baking I decided to do before we went on vacation this year, it took some extra prep work but it was well worth it. We had lots of yummy treats for the car ride and when we arrived at our destination. This made for a happy family and a happy Mama, who didn’t have to rush off to the grocery store or a restaurant upon arrival.

nonpariel 4                        

I knew I wanted to make the Chocolate Nonpareil Cookies (you can find that recipe by clicking here), then I was blessed with a new (to me) idea Peanut Butter Cookies with a Cocoa Mill Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup in the middle! I also made cinnamon rolls and danish (those recipes to follow!)

peanutbutter-surprise-cookies

Easy Better Peanut Butter Cookies

What you’ll need:

pbcc,  flour eggs butter  peanutbutter

2/3 cup of butter (or shortening)

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

1/2 cup  of brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 1/4 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp. of baking soda

1/4 to 1/2 a tsp. of salt (depending on how sweet you like your cookies

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

15 – 20 Cocoa Mill Peanut Butter Cups (milk or dark pb cups will work, I used milk)

2pb dough

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl mix together butter, sugars until well blended, add the egg and vanilla mix again thoroughly. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix again until all ingredients are incorporated. Add the peanut butter last and mix one last time.

At this point you will need a cutting board and very sharp knife. one by one cut the peanut butter cups in half and set aside.

Form your dough in 2 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Take your halved pb cups and pressed down a bit into the middle of the dough of each cookie. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes.

pb cookies

Take cookies out of the oven, let cool a bit and enjoy!

Christmas in July: Granny’s Chocolate Fudge

Save this recipe for the Holidays.  It is super good.

My Husband’s Granny made this every Christmas without fail.  It was a treat that our whole family looked forward to. After tasting this heavenly creation I had to get the recipe from her.  I’ve made it several times and without fail it always turns out perfect. Unfortunately Granny left us in 2009.  She left behind a great legacy; from her beautiful family, to homemade recipes, to her sweet sayings we all have a little piece of Granny that lives on in each of us every day.

I hope you enjoy this sweet treat!

Granny’s Fudge:

1 1/2 cups sugar

2/3 cup evaporated milk

2 Tbsp. butter

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups miniature marshmallows

12 oz Cocoa Mill’s Bittersweet Chocolate

1 tsp vanilla

In a saucepan melt the butter, add the evaporated milk, salt , and sugar, bring this mixture to full rolling boil.  Stir continuously for 5 minutes.  Remove the saucepan from heat and stir in the marshmallows, bittersweet chocolate, and vanilla. Continue stirring until the marshmallows are melted and all ingredients are well blended.

Line a 8 inch square pan with aluminum foil and refrigerate for 2 hours (or until firm).  Lift from the pan and remove the foil.  Cut into squares.  Makes 49 pieces (minus the piece you will eat while cutting it).

Tuck this recipe away and enjoy when the nights get longer, the days get colder and you are longing for a little piece of home.

Summer Sweets: Julia’s Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cupcakes

After weeks of careful observation my nine-year old daughter approached me. Her eyes were full of questions as I turned to see what was on her curious little mind. She asked me why had I been cooking so many things and why did they all have chocolate? I explained that this is part of my work. I was trying out new ideas and then sharing them with others in hopes that they might enjoy them too. 

“Oh…” she said looking a little puzzled.  “Mommy?… If I come up with a recipe will you make it and write about it?” 

“Sure,” I said a little skeptical, not knowing how this experiment might turn out. ” You need to remember the recipe has to have chocolate in it somewhere.”

“OK!” she squealed as she scurried off to her room. A few moments later she emerged with her face a little downcast this time. “I don’t know how to make a recipe.”

We talked about recipes and the proper way write one. She and I then proceeded to make our way to the bookshelf that houses our cookbooks. With her arms full of cookbooks her eyes danced magically about and a beautiful smile filled her face. That sweet smile could have lit up a dark night sky. She again scurried off to her room. It was an enchanting moment to watch as this sweet young girl embark on her journey of creating something new and exciting.  As I heard the door to her bedroom close I remembered the years of magic that I had so routinely felt as a young child, it left me longing for a little more magic in my oh so grown up life.

Later she came and handed me a beautifully handwritten recipe with detailed instructions on how to make her Strawberry Cream Cupcakes. With a few minor changes we were ready to bake. I hope you enjoy these cupcakes from the creative mind of a nine-year old girl.

Strawberry Cream Cupcakes:

1/2 cup of butter (softened)

1 cup of low-fat milk

1  cup of sugar

1/3 cup of powdered sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. of vanilla

2 cups of all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp of salt

4 oz. Cocoa Mill’s Bittersweet Chocolate (melted with a 1 Tbsp of butter)

1 qt. fresh strawberries

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the sugar and the butter, add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Add the milk and mix again. Scrape the edges of the bowl. Add the dry ingredients and mix well. Scrape sides of bowl again.

Melt the butter and chocolate over low heat, add to the cake batter and mix thoroughly.

Line two muffin tins with cupcake holders. Fill liners about 3/4 of the way full. Place in the oven and bake for about 14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Cream frosting:

1 stick of butter

1 box of confectioners sugar

heavy whipping cream

2 tsp. of vanilla

Cream the butter and sugar together, add the vanilla and mix well. While mixing slowly pour in small amounts of heavy whipping cream until frosting is a light fluffy consistency. ( you can add more powdered sugar if you need to thicken it or more cream if you need to thin your frosting.)

Chill in fridge while the cupcakes cool. Frost and enjoy!

 

Picture above was painted by Torrie Smiley. You can find this painting as well as other paintings at: http://torriesmiley.blogspot.com/2012/07/cupcake-002.html

Summer Sweets: Salmon in White Chocolate Dill-Lemon Sauce

I was ready for a light summer meal after damaging storms blasted through the area causing wide-spread power outages.  Huge old trees that hold the history of our land have been uprooted and chaotically tossed about, personal property that has been meticulously cared for has been destroyed along with people’s hopes and dreams.  Most everyone was thrust into some sort of temporary frontier life.  While roughing it is fun; it looses it’s luster after about 48 hours leaving the harsh realization of just how dependant this society is on the luxuries of everyday life.  Several places are still waiting for power to be restored.  The power companies have been working for 8 days to clean up the mess and restore some sense of normalcy to our area.  In returning to a normal summer life I came across this light meal that taste like a summer evening in every bite.  I hope you enjoy it!

Salmon in White Chocolate Dill-Lemon Sauce:

You will need 2 large Salmon Steaks

1 oz of Cocoa Mill Solid White Chocolate

4 Tbsp of butter

1 Tbsp of flour

1/2 cup of fish or chicken stock

1/2 tsp of pepper

1/4 tsp of salt

1 1/2 tsp of dill

4 tsp of lemon juice

2 Tbsp of olive oil

2 Tbsp minced garlic

In a sauce pan melt 2 Tbsp of butter and the white chocolate over medium heat. After the butter and chocolate are melted add the flour and stir until the butter/chocolate  is absorbed.  Add half of the stock until the liquid begins to thicken, add remainder of the stock and stir until mixed throughly. Reduce to low heat add pepper, salt, lemon juice, and dill. Simmer stirring occasionally until fish is ready to serve.

In a skillet melt the remaining  butter and olive oil. Salt and pepper the salmon and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes per side, or until done. Remove fish from the skillet and add the garlic heat lightly for about 3 minutes until the garlic just starts to turn brown. Top the salmon with the garlic. At this point if you have any steamed vegetables throw them into the skillet with the heat off just to incorporate the garlic and butter taste into the vegetables.

Remove the sauce from the heat and drizzle over the salmon until lightly covered.

This dish is best served with steamed broccoli, asparagus, or green beans. I enjoyed a nice cucumber and tomatoes salad, just to have that full summer taste.

Enjoy summer with chocolate!

Summer Sweets: German Chocolate Cake

Since starting the Summer Sweets Recipe Series I have started getting a lot of requests for my next recipe experiment.  This one is for my husband: German Chocolate Cake.

I will say I was a little hesitant to make this cake, I thought it would be very labor intensive and difficult to make. It is not difficult make, there are however several steps involved in making this cake. It was well worth the time. 

 This German Chocolate cake is very moist with a very rich grown up flavor. The quality of the chocolate used plays a big factor in this cake. I recommend a bittersweet chocolate for a decadent chocolate experience. The caramel coconut icing is just heavy enough to lock in the moisture of the cake, and the sweetness of the icing  intensifies the chocolate flavor while the bittersweet chocolate balances the sweet icing and the richness of this cake. This recipe does make a rather large cake, plan on three layers or a large sheet cake. I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my family has!

German Chocolate Cake

ingredients you will need:

6 oz. Cocoa Mill bittersweet Chocolate (visit www.cocoamill.com for chocolates and information)

1/2 cup water

1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup of brown sugar

1/4 cup of coffee

1 cup buttermilk

4 eggs, separated

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

(frosting recipe will follow after cake recipe)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F

2. In a double broiler heat the water and chocolate until melted and well blended. remove from heat and set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl cream together the butter, vanilla, granulated and brown sugar until well blended.

4. Scrap the bowl and add the egg yolks. Add the melted chocolate and the 1/4 cup of coffee until throughly blended.

5. Add the flour, baking soda, and salt, blend again.

6. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Very gently fold the egg whites into the batter until well blended.

7. Pour the batter into 3 greased 9 inch cake pans. Bake in for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

8. After baking time is up remove the cake from the oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Coconut Icing:

ingredients:

1 1/2 cups evaporated milk

5 egg yolks slightly beaten

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

 2 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 sticks of butter

2 cups un-sweetened flaked coconut

(2 cups toasted pecans)*

* if you do not use pecans add 1/4 tsp of salt

1. in a large saucepan over low heat add egg yolks, evaporated milk, white and brown sugar, vanilla, and butter.

2. After the butter melts raise the heat to medium low, stir constantly for ten minutes.

3. Remove from the heat and add the coconut and pecans (or salt).

4. Cool before frosting the cakes.

Enjoy!

Summer Sweets: Frozen Hot Chocolate

Frozen Hot Chocolate is a recipe I have wanted make for a long time. I know that the restaurant Serendipity3 in New York has this dessert and people rave about how good it is. I thought I would give it a go with our own Cocoa Mill Chocolates.  

This was surprisingly easy to make.  I used my own homespun recipe for Hot Chocolate and then adjusted it accordingly to get the Frozen effect.  This recipe will give you something to look forward to after a long hot day.

 

What you will need for this refreshing treat:

4 cups of whole milk

3 oz Cocoa Mill Dark Chocolate

3 oz Cocoa Mill Milk Chocolate

3 oz Cocoa Mill White Chocolate

3 Tbsp granulated sugar*

3 tsp. vanilla

6 Tbsp powdered sugar*

1 pint heavy whipping cream

Chocolate shavings

You will also need, a blender and  mixer capable of whipping cream.

 

Process:

1. Warm milk in a sauce pan over low heat, (be careful not to boil the milk). When steam begins rising from the milk add your 3 types of chocolate, 1 1/2 tsp of vanilla and 3 Tbsp of granulated sugar. Continue cooking over low heat until chocolate is melted and well blended with the milk.

(1 1/2. You can stop here if you want hot chocolate, keep it in mind for those Cold winter nights.)

2. Remove from heat and let it cool in the fridge for two hours (or longer if needed).

3. Place whip cream in a bowl and add 1 1/2 tsp vanilla and 3 Tbsp of powdered sugar whip with a beater until the cream forms stiff peaks when the beater is removed. Cover and place in refrigerator.

4. In a blender pour in 2 1/2 cups of the now cold hot chocolate add a 1/2 cup of whipped cream and 3 Tbsp powdered sugar mix until blended (about 45 seconds to a minute.) 

5. Fill blender with Ice cubes until liquid has reached 5 cups. Blend until creamy.

6. Pour into a glass, top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings and have a good chocolatley evening. 

There are so many ways you could adjust this recipe, add Bailey’s Irish Creme for an adult beverage, add 3 Tbsp of coffee for a mochachino, add some caramel syrup on top of the whip cream just for an added yum. Let us know what variations you come up with!

*You can also substitute  truvia for sugars or another sweetener to decrease caloric/carbohydrate in take.

You can save the additional hot chocolate mixture for up to a week in the refrigerator.